Laura Sweeney, MS/MPA/MFA, facilitates Writers for Life in Iowa and Illinois. She represented the Iowa Arts Council at the First International Teaching Artist's Conference in Oslo, Norway. Her poems and prose appear in sixty plus journals and ten anthologies in the States, Canada, Britain, Indonesia, and China. Her recent awards include a scholarship to the Sewanee Writer's Conference.  In 2021, she received an Editor's Prize in Flash Discourse from Open: Journal of Arts & Letters; Poetry Society of Michigan's Barbara Sykes Memorial Humor Award; and two of her poems appear in the anthology Impact: Personal Portraits of Activism, winner of the American Book Fest Best Book Award, Current Events, 2021 .  She is a PhD candidate, English/Creative Writing, at Illinois State University. 


Women of Appalachia Project to Host Showcase Aug. 27

WHEELING — The Women of Appalachia Project’s Women Speak showcase is slated to be held for the first time in person in Wheeling on Aug. 27 at Towngate Theatre. Women Speak is a juried showcase of stories, poetry and music by female artists who live or have strong ties to Appalachia, according to information from Oglebay Institute. It will be held 1-3 p.m. Aug. 27 and is free and open to the public. “The event is a presentation of readings published in WOAP’s anthology ‘Women Speak, Volume Sev

American Book Fest Best Book Award Current Events 2021

Something happened and motivated these quiet activists to make an impact on their family, organization, or community. They chose to speak up about issues they care about. Some are following a tradition of generational activism. Others became involved for the first time and suddenly realized they were engaged in activism. IMPACT: Personal Portraits of Activism gathers personal essays, poems, and short stories from around the world to show how actions big and small can lead to some form of justice

The First Annual Prize for Flash Discourse

The First Annual O:JA&L Editor’s Prize for Flash Discourse Beginning in 2021, editors at OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L) instituted the O:JA&L Prize for Flash Discourse. These ten award winners were published between October 2017 and June 2021. The next prize period will begin in July 2021 and end in June 2022. Five works will be added annually to the Prize List. Selected and with an Introduction by Pamelyn Casto, Associate Editor When asked to choose the ten best stories we have

9 Books You'll Want to Cuddle Up to This Holiday Season

Even before I became a professional writer, I knew this. My mom was always a big advocate for books and education. Growing up, our house was forever filled with college textbooks, medical journals, encyclopedias, autobiographies, paperbacks, cookbooks and novels. You could typically find me between the pages of something. Somewhere. And now, with all the restrictions and safety concerns imposed by the current pandemic, cuddling up to a good book at home has even greater value. I believe that t